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Indicative ballot: undervalued nurses in England and Wales could strike over 3% pay offer

RCN seeks 12.5% pay rise and will use ballot results to consider next steps

RCN seeks 12.5% pay rise and will use ballot results to consider next steps for fair pay

Undervalued nurses in England and Wales have warned that they are prepared to strike over their 3% pay offer.

The RCN held an indicative ballot of NHS members to gauge appetite for industrial action.

Of the 23% of people who took part in the England ballot, 54% said they would be willing to take strike action, and 84% said they would be willing to take industrial action short

RCN seeks 12.5% pay rise and will use ballot results to consider next steps for fair pay

Picture: iStock

Undervalued nurses in England and Wales have warned that they are prepared to strike over their 3% pay offer.

The RCN held an indicative ballot of NHS members to gauge appetite for industrial action.

Of the 23% of people who took part in the England ballot, 54% said they would be willing to take strike action, and 84% said they would be willing to take industrial action short of strike.

In the Wales ballot, 29% of members took part, with 56% supporting strike action and 91% backing action short of a strike.

Protect patient safety and prevent nurse exodus

RCN council interim chair Carol Popplestone said members felt ‘disrespected and devalued’.

‘Nursing staff do not consider industrial action lightly, but they will consider it if it means standing up for patients and their profession,’ she said.

Ms Popplestone called on the government to urgently recruit and retain more nurses to protect patient safety and prevent an exodus of staff.

‘Our members are expected to work in unsafe conditions, yet their pleas for help go unanswered,’ she added,

‘This drives many out of the profession because they are not prepared to put patients at risk.’

Formal ballot needed to consider industrial action

The RCN, which has called for nurses to receive a 12.5% pay rise, said it will use the ballot results to consider next steps in its campaign for fair pay.

A formal ballot would be required before industrial action could take place. Industrial action short of a strike could include working to rule, while strike action would involve a walkout and withdrawal of labour from the workplace. 

In November, RCN members in Scotland told an indicative ballot they were prepared to strike over their 4% pay rise offer.

A formal announcement on pay is yet to be made in Northern Ireland, but it is expected nurses will be offered a 3% rise.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) did not respond to the RCN’s latest ballot results. However, a spokesperson said the 3% pay rise would increase nurses’ pay by £1,000 a year on average.

Earlier this week, health and social secretary Sajid Javid wrote to the independent NHS Pay Review Body to formally commence the 2022-23 pay round. A DHSC spokesperson added the government would consider recommendations for next year’s pay rise.


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